October 20, 2017

Brooklyn Nets guard/forward Allen Crabbe gets lots of praise from teammates, he scored 11 points in six minutes off the bench

For the second time during this preseason, the Brooklyn Nets have defeated the New York Knicks, and this time, at home at the Barclays Center on a Sunday evening. Yes, it is preseason, but for Nets fans a defeat of 117-83, sure looks good. Nets scoring was also music to the ears of Nets fans as it quieted Knicks fans in the arena each time the Nets put up more points on the scoreboard.

But, let’s be real here. The odds were in the Nets favor. Since the Nets landed in Brooklyn in 2012, the Brooklyn Nets regular season win record against the New York Knicks is 13 - 6.

Brooklyn Nets guard Jeremy Lin advised reporters to remember that although the Nets are playing as a cohesive unit and winning, which is a good thing, it is still preseason.

In the postgame presser, Lin discussed the Nets camaraderie and how players' unselfishness has helped the team's overall effort. Lin heaped praise on new teammate Allen Crabbe for scoring an impressive 11 points in six minutes. He also had good words for D'Angelo Russell and Caris LeVert with whom he spent a lot of time with over the past summer. Lin expects the Nets will make an improvement over last season because of the new additions to the team, younger players improved game, and unselfishness.

Brooklyn Nets Guard Jeremy Lin in his Own Words

 

Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson liked what he saw from his team tonight.

“I thought our defense was solid,” Atkinson stated. “I thought we were active. I think we turned them over a lot in the first half. That really started the ball rolling. Great activity, a lot of deflections, steals, high energy defensively, making some shots.”

And, what about Allen Crabbe?

“We can talk about the points, but I just like how he just makes a simpler play,” Atkinson said about Nets guard/forward Allen Crabbe. “If it’s not there, he’ll make the next pass to the open guy. There is no extra waste of movement. Yeah, of course, it’s great if the shots go in, but he is a really good all-around basketball player.”

Brooklyn Nets guard/forward Allen Crabbe in his Own Words

D’Angelo Russell led all Nets scorers with 16 points and he credits the Nets scoring with playing as a team.

Brooklyn Nets guard D’Angelo Russell in his Own Words

Other Nets scorers in double digits were Crabbe with 14 points, DeMarre Carroll and LeVert each had 12 points, Timofey Mozgov added 11 points, and Trevor Booker chipped in 10 points. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Quincy Acy each had a total of 8 rebounds. Assist leaders for the Nets were Russell and Lin.

Knicks leaders included Willy Hernangomez, who led all scorers with 17 points and 11 rebounds. Tim Hardaway Jr. had 13 points, and Ramon Sessions scored 12 points and five assists.

New York Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek obviously was not happy with his team’s effort.

“Not moving the ball and the turnovers,” Hornacek said about what disappointed him about the Knicks effort. “We had a lot of turnovers the other night and that continued. They’re just soft passes. We’re not tough with the ball. We’re careless with it. I don’t know if they think guys aren’t going to reach up and try to deflect our passes or what. That was probably the biggest disappointment. I think our guys played hard. We did the wrong thing quite a bit tonight, in terms of the rotations. We have a lot of bumps and bruises, KP (Kristaps Porzingis) and Michael’s (Beasley) foot was bothering him to start the game. We need to get those guys back so we can get our regular rotation going.”

Next up, the Brooklyn Nets play the Philadelphia 76ers at Nassau Coliseum.

VIDEO DISCUSSION: Lance Thomas was so hurt by Carmelo’s departure that he wrote a heartfelt letter

Former Knicks player, Carmelo Anthony, will not only be missed by many New York fans, but also at least one teammate, Lance Thomas.

When Carmelo was traded to OKC, Thomas was so hurt by Carmelo’s departure that he wrote a heartfelt letter to The Players Tribune thanking Carmelo.

“I was hurt when he left,” Thomas said. “Not only not having him as a teammate but not having him here as one of my best friends.

Are you surprised that Carmelo’s departure has affected players in this manner?

Hit us up in the comments section under this video on YouTube.

NBA players, Sean “Diddy” Combs and others stand behind NFL players; Brooklyn Nets Players look forward to new season; Time for safety nets at MLB stadiums

WHAT'S POPPIN'

Donald Trump Uses NFL to Boost his Ratings

Donald Trump injected himself into the NFL players’ protest against rogue police officers killing innocent Black men. Trump said at a campaign rally in Alabama that owners should fire players who kneel during the national anthem and that fans should consider walking out in protest “when somebody disrespects our flag.” Trump’s comments touched off a firestorm.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell didn’t hesitate to give Trump serious pushback, stating:

“Divisive comments like these demonstrate an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL, our great game and all of our players.”

DeMaurice Smith, executive director of the NFL Players Association tweeted: “We will never back down. We no longer can afford to stick to sports.”

A good number of NFL players took exception to Trump attempting to deny their US Constitutional right to free speech, and being called “sons of bitches”. NBA players and others are standing up, even Sean “Diddy” Combs commented.

Donald Trump Disinvites Golden State Warriors

Speaking of Donald Trump, he rescinded his invitation to the Golden State Warriors to visit the White House because Stephen Curry was hesitating and ultimately decided he did not want to go. “Going to the White House is considered a great honor for a championship team. Stephen Curry is hesitating, therefore invitation is withdrawn!,” Trump tweeted. Based on the current climate, the UNC Men’s Basketball team decided its players won’t be visiting the White House either.

Carmelo Anthony Has Left the Building

It took a minute, but a deal that worked for all the parties involved finally got done. Carmelo Anthony is no longer a player for the New York Knicks; he is now signed with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Anthony joins Russell Westbrook, Paul George, and company.

QUICK HITS

Aaron Hernandez’s attorney says the late football player had extreme CTE and his suing the NFL and the New England Patriots on behalf of his daughter
Floyd Mayweather told TMZ Sports that he has yet to cash his checks from the Pacquiao and McGregor fights.
Carmelo Anthony set up a relief fund for Puerto Rico and he pledged 50 thousand dollars.
• The New York Yankees clinched a wild card playoff spot.

OTHER TOPICS IN THIS EPISODE

Is it time for Major League Baseball to install safety nets at its stadiums

Will fans ever forgive Kevin Durant for his fake Twitter account?

Brooklyn Nets Media Day 2017

With Carmelo Anthony gone, the face of the Knicks is now Kristaps Porzingas

OFF TOPIC

Co-founder of Roc-A-Fella Records and Jay-Z’s business partner, Damon “Dame” Dash, is currently selling his coveted sneaker collection on eBay. Hosted on Shoezeum’s eBay shop, the collection is packed with some of the most coveted items from what many would consider to be the golden years of sneaker culture.

Sloane Stephens and Rafael Nadal came up winners at the US OPEN; the Cavs and Celtics Kyrie Irving – Isaiah Thomas trade dissected, Brooklyn Nets sale news

In this 96th episode of What's The 411Sports, hosts Keisha Wilson and Mike McDonald, are talking about how Sloane Stephens and Rafael Nadal  slayed at the 2017 US OPEN, the Cavaliers, and Celtics trade of Kyrie Irving and Isaiah Thomas, Danny Ainge getting thrown under the bus, Roger Goodell and the NFL on Ezekiel Elliott and Josh Brown, Seattle Seahawks' Michael Bennett's arrest by the Las Vegas police, the proposed sale of the Brooklyn Nets, the NY Yankees, Carmelo Anthony's outlook with the NY Knicks and his wife La La Anthony. Our Photo of the Week is Jeremy Lin and Caris Levert in Taiwan.

WHAT’S POPPIN’

2017 US OPEN

Congratulations are due to professional tennis players Sloane Stephens and Rafael Nadal on their grand slam wins at the 2017 US OPEN. Stephens beat Madison Keys 6-3, 6-0, to win the Women’s Final. And, on the men’s side, Spaniard, Rafael Nadal, beat South Africa’s Kevin Anderson 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 to win the men’s US OPEN FINAL.

Boston Celtics – Cleveland Cavaliers Trade

Kyrie Irving has left the building. Irving is now with the Boston Celtics in exchange for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, center Ante Zizic, the Brooklyn Nets’ 2018 pick by way of the Boston Celtics, and a 2020 pick from Boston.

The Courts Give Ezekiel Elliot a Reprieve

The Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliot can play for the Cowboys this season despite Roger Goodell handing down a six-game suspension to Elliot for domestic violence. The NFL Players Association took the NFL to court to get a Temporary Restraining Order over the process by which Goodell came to Elliot’s punishment, and won.

NFL Give Josh Brown a Six-Game Suspension

The NFL, after suspending former New York Giants kicker Josh Brown 1 Game for beating his wife, quietly suspended him for 6 games. The league reopened the investigation based on new info and has yet to release its findings. The NFL concluded there was a violation of its personal conduct policy and imposed a 6-game suspension which Brown accepted without appeal.

NFL Supports Michael Bennett

Michael Bennett had a run-in with Las Vegas police when he was leaving a night club. Bennett says that the officer told him he would "blow my f*cking head off"

NBA and NBA Players Association Issue Joint Statement on Social Issues

Here’s a big contrast between the NBA and the NFL. Recently, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and NBA Players Association executive director Michelle Roberts are encouraging players to speak out on social issues, stating to NBA players:

“None of us operates in a vacuum. Critical issues that affect our society also impact you directly. Fortunately, you are not only the world’s greatest basketball players — you have real power to make a difference in the world, and we want you know that the Players Association and the League are always available to help you figure out the most meaningful way to make that difference.”

PHOTO OF THE WEEK

Our Photo of the Week is a photo of Brooklyn Nets’ players Jeremy Lin and Caris LeVert in Taiwan.

NY SPORTS REPORT

Brooklyn Nets for Sale

Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov is ready to do a slow dance to sell the team. Initially, Prokhorov wanted to sell a minority stake in the team, but because of the pace, he is willing to sell up to 49 percent and the remaining 51 percent shortly thereafter. Sources say Prokhorov is encouraged by the sale of the Houston Rockets for $2.2 Billion.

Carmelo Anthony Still with the NY Knicks

Carmelo Anthony is still a member of the New York Knicks even though both the Houston Rockets and Portland Trail Blazers have expressed interest in him. Additionally, the Knicks point guard situation isn’t knocking anyone’s socks off and the team is considering bringing in point guards Trey Burke and Jarrett Jack for training camp.

The New York Yankees in the Hunt

 Right now, there is enough space between the Yankees and the Orioles for the Yanks to get a wildcard spot in the playoffs.

OFF TOPIC

Now, let’s go off topic. New York Knicks small forward Carmelo Anthony showed up unexpectedly at the launch of his estranged wife, La La Anthony’s, new denim line at Lord & Taylor in New York City. Carmelo proudly posted a photo of La La on Instagram.

Carmelo Anthony Instagram post of the launch of LaLa Anthonys new denim line at Lord and Taylor 613x400

 

VIDEO DISCUSSION: Knicks fans okay with Hardaway Jr.’s return, but concerned about $71 million

Phil Jackson is out as the NY Knicks president and directly after his exit, the Knicks inked a four-year deal to bring Tim Hardaway Jr. back to the team.

New York Knick fans seem to be okay with Hardaway’s return because of his improvement since going to the Atlanta Hawks. However, fans are crowing about Hardaway’s $71 million four-year deal.

Meanwhile, David Griffin, former Cleveland Cavaliers general manager, has turned down the job of general manager of the New York Knicks.

So the hunt for a general manager continues. Purportedly, the new general manager will report directly to Steve Mills, who is expected to be elevated to team president.

VIDEO: Jimmy Butler and Timberwolves are big winners in NBA Free Agency; Paul George lands in OKC, Brooklyn Nets, Knicks, focusing on young players

Before we get to our discussions of the top sports stories, here a couple of quick bites:

• The NBA fined Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid for foul language after he released a video on Instagram where he said, "F- LaVar Ball"
• Lakers small forward Brandon Ingram will miss the remainder of summer league due to cramping in his right leg
• The Miami Heat officially waived Chris Bosh and plan to retire his jersey. Bosh has since cleared waivers and is now a free agent.
James Harden landed the biggest NBA extension contract in history. The deal, reportedly worth $228 M, would start trickling in 2019-20 at a salary of $37.8M, $40.8M, $43.8M and $46.8M.

NBA Free Agency

NBA free agency was in full effect this past week. And, Keisha and Mike are talking about the winners and those who did not do as well.

Paul George Goes to OKC

Indiana Pacers guard Paul George has left the building and has landed in OKC to play with NBA MVP, Russell Westbrook, and the rest of the Oklahoma City Thunder team. Has OKC positioned itself to be in better contention to take over the West? Did the Los Angeles Lakers miss the boat on not trading for him?

Lonzo Ball NBA Summer League Outing

As his father, LaVar Ball predicted, NBA Draft stand-out, Lonzo Ball is now in the NBA and playing for the Los Angeles Lakers. Lonzo had a rough Game 1, but he managed to right his ship and played clicking on all cylinders for Game 2. Will Lonzo bring “show time” back to the Lakers?

What’s The 411Sports’ Photo of the Week

Our photo of the week is a photo of Markelle Fultz, the 2017 NBA Draft’s #1 pick overall, being helped off the court by his teammates because of an injured left ankle.

What’s The 411Sports’ New York Sports Report

Brooklyn Nets

The Brooklyn Nets acquired Jarrett Allen in the 2017 NBA Draft at No. 22, and just before the draft, the Nets acquired guard D’Angelo Russell and center Timofey Mozgov from the Los Angeles Lakers in exchange for Brook Lopez and a Nets first round draft pick. Russell attended NBA Summer League and like a good teammate, he cheered on the Nets. However, when the game was over, Russell stayed to watch the Lakers play.

Should D’Angelo Russell have stayed to watch the Lakers summer league game? Will the Nets development culture be able to assimilate D’Angelo Russell?

New York Knicks

Phil Jackson is out as the NY Knicks president and the Knicks inked a four-year deal to bring Tim Hardaway Jr. back after Jackson’s exit. New York Knick fans are crowing about Hardaway’s $71 million four-year deal. Meanwhile, David Griffin, former Cleveland Cavaliers general manager, has turned down the job of general manager of the New York Knicks.

Is this a good move to bring Hardaway back to the Knicks? Who made this decision? Would the Hardaway acquisition have happened if Phil Jackson was still with the Knicks?

The New York Yankees

New York Yankees were in a huge tailspin heading into the MLB All-Star Break.

Will the Yankees turn this ship around and sail into smoother waters?

New York Giants

New York Giant wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr landed on the number 8 spot on the list of Top 100 NFL Players of 2017 as determined by his peers.

Off Topic

LaVar Ball Gets Real

LaVar Ball’s camera-ready persona has reportedly landed the Ball family a reality-show deal. Deadline is reporting that the Ball family will be the focus of a yet-to-be-named docu-series as part of Facebook's push for original video content.

A Woman Uber Driver Gets First-Day Surprise

It was a woman’s first day as a Uber driver and she picked up Golden State Warriors center JaVale McGee. How cool is that?

This might be the best bittersweet news of the entire year if you're an avid Knicks fan and supporter. Reported first by Stephen A. Smith, a journalist and NBA insider for ESPN, the worldwide leader in sports, Phil Jackson was approached by New York Knicks management about a possible job offer that would give him the responsibilities as the next Head Coach of the Knicks.

Recent reports have been modified updating that report stating that the Knicks have offered Jackson a front office position as team president of basketball operations. I thought that was current GM Steve Mills' job to lose? What about Assistant GM Allan Houston? But this is how Jim Dolan, President and CEO, Cablevision Systems and Chairman, Madison Square Garden company orchestrates his business. The business that we are most concerned with is the New York Knicks.

As of today March 3, 2014, the New York Knicks are well on their way to a disappointing and deflating representation of an NBA regular season, positioned 10th in the Eastern Conference standings, a 25-40 overall record currently enjoying a 4-game winning streak. A new episode of Marvel Agents of Shield premiered tonight on ABC-TV. If you were unaware, it's a pretty good show.

Let's get this Knicks stuff out of the way because that's how hard it is to watch this team. That's how hard it is to fully invest your spirit into the Orange and Blue. Maybe the addition of Phil Jackson in a management arrangement could ease the pain and give us a substantial amount of faith even though it might not translate to wins on the court immediately. Maybe down the road, we will see the fingerprints of what 11-world championships won as a coach and two championships won as a player could transition into as a talent evaluator and trader.

Maybe down the road, we could see an entire franchise image make-over rivaling the San Antonio Spurs organization, minus the dynasty (it's too early) due to the insertion of one man. Maybe he could be exactly what we need. All of these predictions and future dreams could be a reality if Jackson indeed joins the Knicks organization and is given the space and opportunity to operate, only if Dolan keeps his hands to himself. Only if Dolan owns the team and does not get involved in basketball related ideas influencing management transactions and in that case, he has done enough.

Donnie Walsh, remember him? Presently a consultant for the Indiana Pacers was the former President of Basketball Operations for the Indiana Pacers and the New York Knicks. He only drafted a Hall-of-Famer in Reggie Miller in 1987 and aided the construction of a team in the 2013-2014 Pacers who are the number one seed in the Eastern Conference. As of today, the Pacers are 47-17, the best record in the NBA. What Walsh did for the Knicks made him our messiah, as long as he was employed by the Knicks. In 2008, Walsh cleared $27 million off the Knicks payroll in trading players with large contracts for cheaper and durable pieces. He cleared cap space for the Knicks to have a chance at signing a max player among the summer free agent class of 2010, in which Lebron James, Chris Bosh, Dwayne Wade, Amar'e Stoudemire and Joe Johnson, were all available. He signed Stoudemire to a five-year $100-million dollar deal. The Knicks were back.

They were having a great season until some bumps in the road steered the Knicks off-track momentarily which prompted Dolan to don his basketball hat and command the pursuit of then Denver Nuggets star F Carmelo Anthony. Walsh obeyed his wishes sacrificing the punch of the team while mortgaging the future. Due to health, pride, and superior basketball knowledge Walsh resigned June 3, 2011.

As Walsh left, a man within the organization became his successor in Glen Grunwald, the former Vice President of the Denver Nuggets and Toronto Raptors. He only orchestrated a trade to acquire Vince Carter and drafted Tracy McGrady, giving the Raptors three consecutive playoff berths from 2000-02, which included a trip to the conference semi-finals. In 2012, Grunwald was promoted to general manager and executive vice president of basketball operations for the Knicks. He gave us one of the best seasons to date. In the 2012-13 NBA season, Grunwald manufactured a Knicks team with veterans and role players built around the centerpiece in Anthony to achieve a 54-28 regular season, which clinched their first Atlantic Division crown since the 1994 season and a trip to the second round of the 2013 playoffs.

Like Walsh, Grunwald was let go also following his success. This is all while Dolan has maintained his basketball hat. These moves illustrate that Dolan doesn't allow room to grow or develop, but space to do nothing as your General Manager job will be in jeopardy if he doesn't approve. Now the Knicks General Manager responsibilities belong to a bright gentleman who has never operated Basketball Operations in his life, Steve Mills. The basketball hat is still on. This is the beautiful mind of Dolan at work. Those are his actions.

What does the potential arrival of Jackson mean?

Does it mean that Dolan will actually let the basketball people handle basketball related activities or, is it only a matter of time before he interferes and aides another exit of a great basketball mind?

The mere idea of pursuing Jackson while Mills, the man occupying the current GM position, which hasn't lasted an entire NBA season, says it all.

Dolan can't wait.

You would think he will leave his hands to himself because it is Jackson, the "Zen Master," a man inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame as a coach, but we don't know. I have faith in a coach who has won 11 world championships to have an idea in choosing the kind of players he suspects has the characteristics and skills that result in wins on the basketball court. Does Dolan believe so, or is this just to save face and throw someone else to the wolves of the general public and the media capital of the world.

It's interesting, isn't it?

Phil Jackson New President of New York Knicks

Just as the New York Knicks shocked the basketball universe winning 54 games last year, their division and their first playoff series in more than 10 years, they have done a complete 180 this year. It's been a Murphy's Law kind year for the Orange and Blue that has it 13 games under .500 and currently 4 games out of the last playoff spot.

Think of a way for them to lose a game and they have done it. With criticism mounting, talk of a new head coach and a protest planned before their game against Indiana Wednesday night, rumors began that owner Jim Dolan had reached out to ex-Knick Phil Jackson. The meeting was brokered by mutual friend Irvin Azoff back in December. When Jackson made it clear that he had no interest in coaching, Dolan offered him President of Basketball Operations.

Jackson was introduced to the media Tuesday morning at the World's Most Famous Arena, the place where Jackson earned his first two championship rings with the Knicks, the last coming in 1973. Since then, Jackson added 11 more rings between the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers. Signing a 5-year contract at an estimated $12 million per year, the clock has started to see if he can add another ring to his illustrious career.

Phil Jackson spoke off the cuff after being introduced not relying on a pre-written statement. Aside from Dolan and General Manager Steve Mills, former teammates Walt "Clyde" Frazier and Dick Barnett attended as well. He began by talking about the concept of a team.

"We want to build a team. This is a franchise that developed a team back in the 60's that was consistently playing team basketball for 7, 8 years. That's the cache that I think brought me here. There are things I believe that the players should have that's important to them. They should have the security in knowing they will be supported by the organization and coaching staff. Putting yourself on the line, you need to have that support. This is something we want to build for them."

Dolan's history of meddling with his past hires has been well documented; most notably the Donnie Walsh saga, and more recently with his last GM, Glen Grunwald. Dolan rarely speaks to the media and thus, the media feels he has little regard for them. Aware of that, Jackson made a plea, as he emphasized he wants to change the negative perception surrounding the team.

"I want to develop relationships with people here. I'm reaching out to you today and the media people to say we can have an open relationship. We need your support and the fans need a positive atmosphere to come and enjoy the game and the players need a positive attitude in which to play."

Phil Jackson would not have taken the position if he was not guaranteed total autonomy and control of basketball operations. His first official order of business will be talking to Head Coach Mike Woodson and the team before they face the Pacers riding a 7-game winning streak. He's hoping his presence will have an effect on the rest of the season culminating in getting into the playoffs, even if their opponent is Miami or Indiana.

While not the most athletic player on those championship teams, Phil Jackson was a student of the game under legendary coach William "Red" Holzman who stressed passing the ball, finding the open man and playing good old fashion team defense. Jackson remembers when Holzman picked him up at Kennedy airport the year he was drafted by the Knicks in 1967. In short, driving to the city Jackson experienced New York City first hand as a kid threw a brick from the overpass, smashing the front window.

Not deterred, Holzman looked at Jackson and said, "You know New York is not the easiest place to live. But if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere."

Jackson has made it as a player in New York and as a coach in Chicago and Los Angeles. He wants to come full circle and make it as President of the New York Knicks.

This one really hurt, riding a - game winning streak and creeping closer to the final playoff spot, the New York Knicks faced the Cleveland Cavaliers knowing the team they are chasing (Atlanta Hawks) had already lost earlier in the day. That news seemed to bolster the Blue and Orange from the very beginning as they jumped out to a 34-27 first quarter lead paced by Carmelo Anthony's 12 points.

The bench kicked in scoring a combined 17 points between Pablo Prigioni, Tim Hardaway, Jr., and Shannon Brown to take a 1- point halftime lead. For a change, it appeared that New York regained the home court confidence they established last year. Then, Cleveland led by Jarrett Jack's (31) and Dion Waiters' (22) points played with the mindset that if they can't make the playoffs, neither should the Knicks.

The comeback began with the Cavs outscoring the Knicks 28-23 in the third getting within 7 (84-77). Then, New York could not hit a shot and could not defend the pick and roll. They missed 13 shots while turning the ball over 5 times. Meanwhile, Cleveland took advantage on the inside, scoring 40 points in the paint. They shot a ridiculous 77% in the second half erasing a 17-point deficit after a Jack 3-pointer with 3:54 left gave them their first lead of the game.

Waiters scored his last points with a trifecta and Anderson Varejao victimized the Knicks with yet another pick and roll ending in his slam extending the lead to 6 (100-94). A J.R. Smith jumper and two Anthony free throws got the Knicks within 2 (102-100) but that's as close as they would get.

As a unit, the Knicks knew they blew an opportunity to not only extend their winning streak to 8 but to get within 2 games of the Hawks. Especially knowing they are about to embark on a 5 game western swing that starts Tuesday night against the Kobe-less Lakers.

Head coach Mike Woodson wanted this game as a springboard to the upcoming trip.

"This was like a getaway game for us to get us set up for the road," he said afterward. "We didn't close it out. So we got to go on the road and win all 5 if we can."

Center Tyson Chandler (4 points) coming off the game against Philadelphia in which he scored 17 points in the win gave kudos to Jack.

"Jarrett Jack took control of the pick and roll in the second-half. He made some tough shots especially down the stretch."

The New York Knicks have 12 games left in the regular season, eight of them on the road.

If they do make the playoffs, they will face either Miami or Indiana. They will be facing teams that are still jockeying for playoff positions. That's why games like last night were one they could not afford to lose.

The New York Knicks did its part beating Toronto to help itself get an NBA playoff spot, but the Nets kept them out by losing to the Hawks 93-88

We are at the point in the NBA season where teams have solidified their playoff position. Some teams are trying to improve their spot, while others are hanging on to faint hopes. Such is the story of the four teams that took to the floor Friday night. The Brooklyn Nets hosted the Atlanta Hawks at Barclays Center while the New York Knicks were on the road against the division leading Toronto Raptors.

The Nets know they will face the Chicago Bulls (who took them out in 7 games last year) when the playoffs start in two weeks. There will be no urgency to play their starters extended minutes to keep them as fresh as possible. For Toronto, it's the same story, the team is looking to win its division for the first time in franchise history. Atlanta holds a 1.5 game lead over New York for the 8th and final spot. It's more like 2.5 games as if both teams end up with identical records, the Hawks would get in due to having a better conference record. Comments were made recently by the Hawks general manager Danny Ferry that they would not mind missing the playoffs (they would face Miami or Indiana in the first round) so they could be a team in the lottery. It had folks from the NBA shaking their heads.

When the Nets introduced their new big 3 (Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry) last year the biggest question was how many minutes they would play during the course of the regular season as new first year Head Coach Jason Kidd knew that keeping them healthy and fresh would be the key to their postseason success or failure. Terry is no longer with the team, Pierce has been relatively healthy under those controlled minutes but Garnett's (his replacement Mason Plumlee has played very well in his place as evidenced by his game-winning block against LeBron James and Miami this past Tuesday) back has been a reason for concern. Before playing against Detroit last week on the road, Garnett missed the previous 15 games.

So it was no surprise when Brooklyn took the floor Friday night, the starting line-up had the look of an exhibition game. The Nets were without the services of Deron Williams, Shaun Livingston and Alan Anderson with little used Jorge Gutierrez starting in place of Williams. Garnett started his second straight game at center.

Plumlee continued his stellar play coming off the bench after Garnett's 3 minutes of play. Although he missed 2 of 3 free-throws, he connected on all 3 field goals scoring 7 points as the Nets took a 7 point (23-16) first quarter lead. The Hawks didn't play the second quarter like they were giving up on their playoff hopes. Led by Jeff Teague (all 14 points in the quarter) Atlanta outscored Brooklyn 39-24 to take an 8 point lead (55-47).

Atlanta extended the lead to 10 (66-56) after a Teague layup but the Nets closed out the 3rd quarter on a 17-8 run getting them within 1 (74-73) setting up the game that could define the Hawks post-season plans.

Neither team led by more than 5 (86-81 Hawks) after 2 Paul Millsap free throws. His 27th point of the game gave them a 1 point lead (89-88) with 1:46 left. Teague adds to the lead with 2 free throws and then Kyle Korver blocks Marcus Thorton's lay-up attempt. Joe Johnson misses a floater followed by another Teague basket. Game over.

The New York Knicks did their part beating Toronto on the road but had to be hanging their collective heads when they learned about the 93-88 Atlanta win. The loss broke Brooklyn's 15-game home winning streak. Maybe Ferry was playing reverse psychology with his players when he made his no playoff comment. Looks like it's working.

Brooklyn's Bit: Prior to the game, New York High School, College and Pro legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar introduced his SkyHook Challenge to bring awareness to the Chronic Myeloid Leukemia he was diagnosed with in 2008. Skyhook Challenge is a timed trivia game fans participate in to see how many questions they can answer about Abdul Jabbar's basketball history. 

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